A leading pro-life activist told a radio audience earlier this week that if anyone should bear responsibility for last month’s massacre at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, it’s the pro-choice movement.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, stopped by the Ave Maria Radio Network, a small network of Catholic radio stations based in Ann Arbor, Michigan; to give an update on recent happenings on the pro-life movement. He told morning host Teresa Tomeo that it was “silly” to blame anyone for Robert Dear’s rampage, since we have no idea “what’s going on inside of his head.” Never mind that Dear yelled “no more baby parts” during his arrest and declared himself “a warrior for the babies” at his arraignment.
But just minutes after Pavone said that we shouldn’t blame anyone for the shooting, the veteran pro-life activist proceeded to do exactly that. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Pavone said that if the pro-choice movement was going to “go down this road” of blaming pro-life rhetoric for violence at abortion clinics, “they’re the ones at fault” for stirring up the violence.
“(W)hich side of this debate is saying that sometimes it’s okay to kill an innocent person? Which side is saying that, that sometimes it’s okay to choose to end a life to solve a problem?”
As far as Pavone is concerned, the pro-choice side needs to “keep quiet” and “stop this nonsense” of blaming pro-life rhetoric for “deranged acts of violence.” Then he really went off the deep end.
“If they’re going to start going down that road, they’re the ones that have to take responsibility for poisoning the moral climate in our nation by saying that sometimes you can kill a baby to solve a problem. You don’t think some kind of crazy people are going to pick up that logic and say, ‘Well then sometimes you can kill born people to solve a problem’?”
This can’t be dismissed as the rantings of a fringe pro-life activist. Pavone has been active in the pro-life movement for the better part of four decades, and Priests for Life was actually saluted on the House floor in 2012.
Okay, Father Pavone. I’ll play. If we’re to believe you, then we’re to blame for Scott Roeder stalking George Tiller like an animal before cutting him down in his church. Does that mean we’re also to blame for your fellow pro-life activist, Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, giving Roeder information on Tiller’s court dates–and thus essentially giving that information to a guy off the street? Oh, that’s right–since we have poisoned the moral climate, we’re to blame for stirring up the anger in Roeder. While we’re on the subject of Sullenger, do you think that we’re responsible for stirring up the rage that led Sullenger to try to blow up an abortion clinic?
And if we’re to believe you, we’re to blame for Flip Benham distributing “wanted” posters with a Charlotte abortion provider’s name and address on them, telling his neighbors that there was a murderer in their neighborhood, and taking pictures inside the clinic. Oh, that’s right–because we’ve poisoned the moral climate, we’re responsible for Benham engaging in behavior that, by any reasonable definition, amounts to stalking.
I could go on, but these anecdotes amply demonstrate that the pro-life movement either cannot or will not weed out the large number of unsavory people in their ranks–some of whom, like Sullenger, are considered among the movement’s leaders. Their tacit acceptance of the likes of Sullenger and Benham despite their despicable and at times criminal actions paves the way for thugs like Dear and Roeder. By comparison, the pro-choice movement disowned Kermit Gosnell long before his debauchery made national headlines.
Until Pavone and others are willing to own the fact that they have some of the worst people in the world in high-profile positions, they will have no business lecturing anyone about “poisoning the moral climate.”